How To Optimize Your New Google+ Page

March 28, 2013

So, in the dead of night, Google rolled out another change to their Google+ network. For those of you who haven’t seen it, here’s what it looks like:


The largest changes are the new, responsive cover photo and the now-circular profile picture. Besides being uniquely troublesome for companies with square logos, it offers some new optimization opportunities which we’re going to detail below. Beyond those, they’ve rearranged the About section and made some tweaks to the presentation on the Photos and Videos tabs.

Optimizing the new Google+ Cover photo

As I mentioned before, the new cover photo is responsively designed, so it will automatically resize itself to fit the browser window of whoever is visiting your Page. The minimum window size it will stop resizing itself at is, weirdly, 1016 pixels wide. Below that, and some of your cover will be cut off by the browser window. The takeaway is to ensure that your cover photo is at a minimum 831×506 pixels wide. However, since this is responsive, the bigger the better – it will automatically scale down when in a smaller window, and if you only meet the minimum size it will appear distorted and grainy when blown up.
The other new feature of the cover photo is the roll-down navigation. Essentially, when a user scrolls past a certain point on the page, a portion of the bottom of the cover photo will ‘stick’ on the top of their feed, like this:


This is also responsive, and will only work if their browser window is at least 1076 pixels wide. It’s 70 px tall and is made up of the bottom 12% of your cover photo, a smaller version of your profile picture, and a +1 button and counter and the circles menu. That gap is a perfect place to insert a call to action – however, the responsive nature makes things tricky. It’s further complicated by the name of your page and the navigation icons on the right-hand side – experiment with a few different sizes and see what works best for you. This is what our page looks like:


Optimizing the new Google+ Profile Picture

Along with the changes to the cover, Google has changed the way that your Profile Picture will display. Whereas before, it was a squared off image, they’ve now introduced a circular border around your picture, like so:


As you can see, this isn’t too great for anyone with a square logo (*ahem*). The circles circumference is 120 px, and with a little geometry we figured out that the biggest square you could inscribe in a circle of that size was 84 x 84 px. Now before you dash off into Photoshop and start resizing everything, there’s a simple one-step way to correct for this – add 30% more canvas to your profile picture and it will fit perfectly within the new border.


Of course, the cost is that your profile picture will appear 30% smaller in the newsfeed – whether this is worth it to you or not is something you’ll have to work out for yourself.

What do you think of the changes to Google+?